Yuhi Sekiguchi

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Yuhi Sekiguchi
Nationality Japan Japanese
Born (1987-12-29) 29 December 1987 (age 29)
Tokyo, Japan
Super GT career
Debut season 2007
Current team Lexus Team WedsSport BANDOH
Car no. 19
Former teams NDDP Racing
JLOC
Racing Project Bandoh
Starts 38
Wins 2
Poles 1
Fastest laps 4
Best finish 6th in 2012
Previous series
2011
2009-10
2008–09
2008
2007-11
2007
2006
200506
2004
2003
All-Japan Formula Three
All-Japan F3 National Class
GP2 Asia Series
International Formula Master
Super GT
All-Japan Formula Three
Formula Challenge Japan
Formula Toyota
Asian Formula Renault
Asia-Pacific Championship ICA
Championship titles
2006
2006
2011
Formula Challenge Japan
Formula Toyota
All-Japan Formula Three Championship

Yuhi Sekiguchi (関口雄飛?, Sekiguchi Yuhi, born 29 December 1987 in Nakano, Tokyo) is a Japanese racing driver.

Career[edit]

Formula Renault[edit]

Sekiguchi competed in two races of the 2004 Asian Formula Renault Challenge for the Asia Racing Team, scoring no points.

Formula Toyota[edit]

Sekiguchi drove in the Japan-based Formula Toyota in 2005 and 2006, winning the drivers' championship in his second year in the series.

Formula Challenge Japan[edit]

Sekiguchi also competed in Formula Challenge Japan in 2006, winning the drivers' title in this championship in addition to his Toyota success.

All-Japan Formula Three[edit]

Sekiguchi moved up to the All-Japan Formula Three series for 2007, driving for the Now Motorsport team. He finished seventh overall in the points standings.

International Formula Master[edit]

Sekiguchi moved to Europe in 2008 to compete in the International Formula Master championship. He finished sixteenth in the points standings, with two fourth-placed finishes at Imola and Monza.

GP2 Series[edit]

In late 2008, Sekiguchi competed in the first round of the 2008–09 GP2 Asia Series season for the David Price Racing team. His team-mate was Michael Herck.[1] He was the fourth Japanese driver in the championship, alongside Sakon Yamamoto, Kamui Kobayashi, and Hiroki Yoshimoto. However, he was then replaced by Giacomo Ricci from the second round onwards.[2]

Return to All-Japan Formula Three[edit]

Sekiguchi returned to the All-Japan Formula Three Championship for 2009, finishing fifth in the National class. He improved to finish as runner-up in 2010, and then won the championship in 2011.

Super GT (2007-)[edit]

GT300 (2007-2012)[edit]

Sekiguchi made his Super GT debut in 2007, partnering 2002 GT500 champion Akira Iida. At round five at Sportsland SUGO, Sekiguchi drove from behind and passed Shigekazu Wakisaka with just a few laps remaining to take the win.[3] Sekiguchi thus became the youngest GT300 class race winner in history, at 19 years, 7 months of age (a record which would be broken in 2008 by Keisuke Kunimoto).

After returning to Japan in 2009 he again juggled his All-Japan Formula Three Championship with a drive in the GT300 class of Super GT. He drove for Hironori Takeuchi's SHIFT team in 2009, and for JLOC Lamborghini for the 2010 and 2011 seasons, achieving a best result of 3rd, at Motegi in 2010.

After winning the All-Japan Formula 3 Championship in 2011, and after a solid performance in that year's Macau Grand Prix, Sekiguchi joined NDDP (Nissan Driver Development Programme) Racing in 2012, driving their new Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 alongside newcomer Katsumasa Chiyo. That season, they won from pole position at the fourth round of the season at SUGO, and added a second place at that year's Suzuka 1000km. But Sekiguchi was also forced to sit out the sixth round of the championship at Fuji Speedway due to multiple violations of Super GT's Driving Moral Hazard System.

GT500 (2013-)[edit]

Sekiguchi made his debut in the GT500 class for the 2013 season, joining the defending series champions MOLA and partnering 3-time series champion Satoshi Motoyama. They took pole position for the fourth round at Sugo, with Sekiguchi leading during his stint of the race. In a chaotic final laps of the race, they were ultimately relegated to seventh place. Their best finish that year was fourth at Autopolis.

For 2014, Sekiguchi made the surprising switch to drive for Lexus, and joined Lexus Team WedsSport BANDOH alongside another three-time GT500 champion, Juichi Wakisaka. They finished the season on a high with two sixth-place finishes at Buriram United International Circuit, and Twin Ring Motegi, to close out the season. Their second year together saw great improvements, with Sekiguchi and Wakisaka finishing every race in the points in 2015, highlighted by a fourth-place finish at the Suzuka 1000km.

Wakisaka announced his retirement from Super GT racing in February 2016, and Sekiguchi was joined by Yuji Kunimoto in the WedsSport RC-F. Once again, Sekiguchi had a strong race at Sugo, battling Heikki Kovalainen for the lead of the race for several laps before ultimately finishing fifth.

At the sixth race of the year in Buriram, Sekiguchi scored his first pole position lap, and went on to take his first GT500 race win - and the first GT500 victory for Racing Project Bandoh after six years in the top class. Sekiguchi and Kunimoto finished third in the final race of the season at Motegi, to finish the year fourth in the standings, career bests for both drivers and their team. They once again scored points in every race of the season.

As of the conclusion of the 2016 season, Sekiguchi holds the longest active streak of consecutive points-paying finishes in Super GT with eighteen races. The current record is held by Takeshi Tsuchiya, who recorded 33 consecutive points-paying finishes from 2002 to 2006.

Super Formula (2016-)[edit]

After spending twelve seasons between the Japanese single-seater ladder and Super GT, Sekiguchi was finally offered the chance to race in the Super Formula championship in 2016 for Itochu Enex Team Impul. He joined McLaren Honda F1 reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne as one of only two rookies on the grid that season.

In his first Super Formula start at Suzuka, he qualified third on the grid, ahead of Vandoorne, reigning Super Formula champion Kazuki Nakajima and his TOM's teammate Andre Lotterer, and Kamui Kobayashi. After two non-scoring races, Sekiguchi finally scored his first podium at Fuji Speedway, then at the following race at Motegi, he won in just his fourth career start, making him only the third Super Formula rookie without any prior experience in Formula 1 to win a race in the 21st century.

Sekiguchi won his second race of the year at Sugo. After leading the first 19 laps and building up a sizeable lead, he was left as the only car yet to pit for fuel following a safety car intervention. He then proceeded to drive more than a second per lap faster than the field for the next 32 laps to extend his lead to over 35 seconds before pitting, and re-emerged from the pits without relinquishing the lead of the race. He finished the season third in the final standings, ahead of the Formula 1-bound Vandoorne.

Racing record[edit]

Career summary[edit]

Season Series Team Races Wins Poles F/Laps Podiums Points Position
2004 Asian Formula Renault Challenge Asia Racing Team 2 0 0 0 0 0 NC
2005 Formula Toyota 10 0 0 0 3 68 5th
Asian Formula Renault Challenge Asia Racing Team 1 0 0 0 0 N/A* N/P
2006 Formula Challenge Japan 10 3 3 4 7 106 1st
Formula Toyota 12  ? 8 0  ? 155 1st
2007 All-Japan Formula Three Now Motorsport 20 0 0 0 1 101 7th
Super GT300 Racing Project Bandoh 9 1 0  ? 1 32 10th
2008 International Formula Master Euronova Racing 14 0 0 0 0 12 16th
Formula Master Italia 2 1 1 1 1 11 10th
Super GT300 WedaSport (GT300) 1 0 0 1 0 1 31st
2008–09 GP2 Asia Series DPR 2 0 0 0 0 0 32nd
2009 All-Japan Formula Three NC AIM Sports 14 3 4 3 5 57 5th
Super GT300 Kumho 4 0 0 0 0 3 22nd
2010 All-Japan Formula Three NC ThreeBond Racing 16 0 0 3 11 81 2nd
Macau Grand Prix 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 20th
Super GT300 Team JLOC 7 0 0 0 1 30 9th
JAF GP Nippon Fuji Sprint Cup GT300 1 0 0 0 0 N/A N/P
2011 All-Japan Formula Three B-Max 12 6 7 8 10 100 1st
Macau Grand Prix Mücke Motorsport 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 4th
Super GT300 Team JLOC 4 0 0 1 0 N/A N/P
  • † - As Sekiguchi was a guest driver, he was ineligible for points.

Complete Super GT results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car Class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 DC Pts
2007 Racing Project Bandoh Toyota Celica GT300 SUZ
14
OKA
19
FUJ
Ret
SEP
9
SUG
1
SUZ
12
MOT
18
AUT
4
FUJ
16
10th 32
2009 Shift Lexus IS350 GT300 OKA SUZ FUJ SEP SUG SUZ
9
FUJ
13
AUT
13
MOT
10
22nd 3
2010 JLOC Lamborghini Gallardo GT300 SUZ
7
OKA
4
FUJ
16
SEP
15
SUG
10
SUZ
5
FUJ
C
MOT
3
9th 30
2011 JLOC Lamborghini Gallardo GT300 OKA
Ret
FUJ
8
SEP
4
SUG
10
SUZ
15
FUJ
4
AUT
12
MOT
5
13th 26
2012 NDDP Racing Nissan GT-R GT3 GT300 OKA
19
FUJ
18
SEP
4
SUG
1
SUZ
2
FUJ AUT
19
MOT
6
6th 51
2013 MOLA Nissan GT-R GT500 OKA
10
FUJ
9
SEP
6
SUG
7
SUZ
8
FUJ
7
AUT
4
MOT
14
12th 28
2014 Lexus Team WedsSport BANDOH Lexus RC F GT500 OKA
11
FUJ
7
AUT
8
SUG
12
FUJ
11
SUZ
Ret
BUR
6
MOT
6
15th 17
2015 Lexus Team WedsSport BANDOH Lexus RC F GT500 OKA
10
FUJ
7
CHA
9
FUJ
10
SUZ
4
SUG
5
AUT
9
MOT
10
11th 27
2016 Lexus Team WedsSport BANDOH Lexus RC F GT500 OKA
9
FUJ
8
SUG
5
FUJ
10
SUZ
5
CHA
1
MOT
5
MOT
3
4th 58

* Season still in progress.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sekiguchi joins DPR for Asia campaign". crash.net. 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  2. ^ "Driver changes aplenty in Dubai". crash.net. 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  3. ^ "An awesome battle! Three aces fight three-wide!". Super GT. 29 July 2007. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Inaugural
Formula Challenge Japan
Champion

2006
Succeeded by
Keisuke Kunimoto
Preceded by
Kazuya Oshima
Formula Toyota
Champion

2006
Succeeded by
Kei Cozzolino
Preceded by
Yuji Kunimoto
Japanese Formula Three Champion
2011
Succeeded by
Ryo Hirakawa